ERG SES D 08, Citizenship and Education
An interest in citizenship education has been growing in many countries. The value of citizenship has increased as the purposes it serves have shifted from simply teaching civic norms to citizens to preparation of more educated and actively engaged individuals in a democratic society who are aware of their own rights and able to practice them while making decisions (Patterson, Doppen, and Misco, 2012).
The international experience evidences that schools are the starting place for training competent, reflective and responsible future citizens (CIRCLE, 2003:6; Torney-Purta and Vermeer, 2004). Taught to children at earlier stages, citizenship education encourages the development of skills to play an active role within schools and later to apply them in other aspects of life. Amao (2006) in (Boadu, 2013) extends this to a broader meaning, stating that teaching citizenship education is a way to target future leaders and thereby to sustain national development. Therefore, the teachers’ role in citizenship education within schools’ programmes is crucial. More importantly, their perceptions of and perspectives on citizenship have a direct impact on students’ learning and understanding of citizenship (Boadu, 2013). The way teachers approach and define the notion of citizenship also influences their methods of delivering a message to students in classes.
Though there is no explicitly practised concept “citizenship” or “citizenship education” in the school curriculum in Kazakhstan, related theories are mainly given through subjects such as “Language and literature”, “Self-recognition”, and “Cognition of the world” at the primary school level, and “History”, “Initial military preparation”, “Regional studies”, “Individual and society” etc. at the secondary school level. Lately, there is a tendency towards the development and promotion of some European concepts of citizenship education in Kazakhstani schools. Under the collaborative initiative of the Council of Europe and European Union, a programme is currently being implemented in two pilot schools aimed at providing support in education for democratic citizenship and human rights.
At the moment, there are gaps in knowledge about conceptions of citizenship education and its exercised practices in Kazakhstan. There has been relatively little research exploring citizenship education matters, and the applicability of the concept and hence its teaching methods in secondary schools have not been examined. As a result, neither Kazakhstani teachers’ perceptions and perspectives nor the perspectives of students on citizenship have been the focus of studies. Therefore, the objectives of this study are, firstly, to explore how teachers and students in Kazakhstan understand the notion of citizenship education and, secondly, to analyze students’ and teachers’ interpretations of European concepts of citizenship and citizenship education in their own national and cultural context.
Boadu, K., 2013. Teachers’ perceptions on the importance of teaching citizenship education to primary school children in Cape Coast, Ghana . Journal of Arts and Humanities, 2(2), pp. 137-147. Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and Carnegie Corporation of New York , 2003. Campaign for the Civic Mission of schools. New York: Carnegie Corporation of New York. Patterson, N., Doppen, F. & Misco, T., 2012. Beyond personally responsible: A study of teacher conceptualizations of citizenship education. Education Citizenship and Social Justice, 7(2), pp. 191-206. Torney-Purta, J. & Vermeer, S. (2004). Developing citizenship competences from kindergarten through grade 12: A background paper for policymakers and educators: Amsterdam, Euron Publishers.
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